After nearly two years of guessing and fan-base anxiety — and after a month and a half of renewed hope by same — the Revolution announced Friday afternoon they have come to terms with Academy product and U.S. U-20 international Justin Rennicks on a Homegrown contract.
Per club policy, terms of the contract were not announced; according to Major League Soccer’s roster rules, though, a club may use up to $200,000 of Targeted Allocation Money in order to sign a Homegrown player to his first contract.
Ives Galarcep first reported the news late Wednesday night. Rennicks will join the first team during this Monday morning’s initial training session of the preseason at Gillette Stadium.
The 19-year-old Rennicks, who hails from South Hamilton, becomes the sixth Homegrown player in club history, and is the second one of this offseason following the signing of Somerville’s Nicolas Firmino in late November. It is the club’s third Homegrown signing in 381 days after Providence native Isaac Angking inked his Homegrown deal on Jan. 2, 2018.
He has spent the last two years at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he scored six goals, three of which match-winners, in 20 appearances this past fall as part of a Hoosier team which went to the NCAA Division 1 Soccer Tournament’s College Cup Semifinals. Indiana had lost to Maryland, 2-nil, on Friday night, Dec. 7. Rennicks was Second Team All-Big Ten and First Team North Region in 2018, and was also named to the College Cup All-Tournament Team in December.
“Justin was a talented and productive player during his time in our Academy, and he further distinguished himself at Indiana University and in the U.S. Youth National Team system,” general manager Michael Burns said in a statement. “After monitoring his progress closely over the last two years, we felt this was the right time for Justin to take this next step in his development and join the first team.”
“I'm excited to move on to the professional level and happy that my first contract is with my hometown team,” Rennicks said in a statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity Todd Yeagley and Indiana gave me the last two seasons, and I know it has prepared me best for this next step. I can't wait to get out there under the guidance of Brad Friedel, who has done it at the highest level for both club and country, which is something that drives me every day. This club has been a part of my life for many years and it feels good to be back with the Revolution.”
Rennicks, who turns 20 in March, entered the Revs Academy in 2012-13 and went on to become the Academy Player of the Year twice, in 2015 and 2016. He scored 38 goals and assisted on 25 others.
That tally, though, may have gone higher had the club not suspended Rennicks for his senior year spring season following an unapproved-by-the-club training trip to Frankfurt, Germany in March 2017. It led to a number of Revs supporters wondering if Rennicks would ever play for The Boys In Blue.
On the morning after Indiana’s semifinal defeat last month, Revolution president Brian Bilello tweeted that the Original Ten outfit would meet with Rennicks about his future with the club.
It led to many an excited whisper in Revs Colony through the Christmas season, which culminated in Friday afternoon’s announcement.